Those interested in biology often utilize the summer months to gain significant experience in research. Summer opportunities can be found all across the nation and range in length and the level of commitment required. This list, complied with resources from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the NIH, gives a small sampling of research programs in the summer months – most of which are full time commitments and include living arrangements. There is a more comprehensive list available on the HHMI website. Students should also contact their local medical and academic centers to inquire about any laboratory research opportunities in their hometown, especially if they are interested in a part-time position. Take note – students should plan way in advance to secure a summer research position; many programs have application dates in the winter months.
California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, California)
Caltech's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program introduces students to research under the guidance of seasoned research mentors at Caltech and JPL. SURF is modeled on the grant-seeking process and as such students collaborate with potential mentors to define and develop a project and write a research proposal. A faculty committee reviews the proposals and recommends awards; students carry out the work over a 10-week period in the summer; and at the conclusion of the program, they submit a technical paper and give an oral presentation at SURF Seminar Day, a symposium modeled on a professional technical meeting. An aim of Caltech’s summer programs is to increase the representation of underrepresented students in science and engineering graduate programs and to make Caltech’s programs more visible to students not traditionally exposed to Caltech. The program supports Caltech’s commitment to training a diverse set of science, technology, engineering, and math leaders. For more information, visit the website.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (Cold Spring Harbor, New York)
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's Summer Undergraduate Research Program provides one of the few places in the world where young people are instructed in the techniques of modern biology while becoming integrated members of a vibrant scientific community. Approximately 25 students from around the world will be accepted to the 10-week summer program to work with senior Laboratory staff members on independent research projects, specifically in areas of Cancer Biology, Neuroscience, Plant Biology, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Macromolecular Structure, and Bioinformatics. For more information, visit their website.
Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia)
The Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Emory (SURE) allows undergraduate students to conduct supervised research with a faculty mentor. Students receive training in the research methods applicable to their research plan, analyze their data and create written and oral presentations of their results. At the end of the summer, participants share their research via our poster symposium. Panels of faculty and graduate students help explore mentoring issues, and make recommendations on how to choose a graduate program and how to balance work and family responsibilities. Speakers address their own involvement in science careers and the requirements for success in their fields. Weekly ethics discussions allow students to explore the ethical aspects of research careers. Awards for popular science essays [optional submission] and scientific posters are made at the end of the program. For more information, visit their website.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle, Washington)
A summer research program for undergraduate students between their junior and senior year of studies is established at the Hutchinson Center. The program provides financial support and instruction on a research project under the guidance of a faculty member and laboratory staff. Students spend a nine week period as part of a research team after selecting an area of interest, such as: cellular biology, developmental biology, genetics, membrane biology, molecular biology, molecular immunology, structural biology, oncogenes, or virology. Weekly student/faculty research meetings take place throughout the summer, and students are encouraged to participate in other Center colloquia and seminars. For more information, visit their website.
Jackson Laboratory (Bar Harbor, Maine)
The Jackson Laboratory has an 83-year history of engaging students in research internships in genetics, bioinformatics, and mouse models of human diseases. Students work on independent projects under a scientist mentor and live together in a waterfront mansion. Learn more at their website.
Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
The LSU Summer Undergraduate Research Program offers opportunities across the Life Science disciplines, including Biological Sciences and Chemistry, as well as Biological Engineering, Veterinary Medicine and Horticulture. Our SURP combines with REUs from NSF and NIH to broaden the experiences of all our students across science. For more information, visit their web site.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
The MIT Department of Biology offers a 10-week summer research-intensive training program designed to encourage students from under-represented minorities, first-generation college students, and students from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds to attend graduate school and pursue a career in research. Students accepted into the summer program receive housing, a weekly stipend, and travel allowance and conduct supervised research in one of over 70 research laboratories affiliated with the Department of Biology. During the summer, students have several opportunities to give oral presentations on their research. At the end of the program students give a poster presentation on their research, and submit a 5-page research summary, and a one-page personal statement about their summer experience at MIT. For more information, visit their website.
National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland)
The Summer Internship Program at the NIH allows for high school, undergraduate, graduate and medical students to spend at least 8 weeks working side-by-side with the nation’s leading scientists in an environment dedicated exclusively to biomedical research. The opportunity, which comes with a stipend, encourages students to take advantage of the resources at NIH, including lecture series, informal lunch talks, and a trainee poster day. Students will most likely be based out of the main campus in Bethesda, but there are some openings in Baltimore and Frederick, MD; Research Triangle Park, NC; Phoenix, AZ; Hamilton, MT; and Detroit MI. Applications are accepted from mid-November to March 1st; more information on the program and the application can be found on the NIH website.
New York University (New York, New York)
The Sackler Institute and the Office of Diversity Affairs have sponsored a research internship program in the medical sciences for undergraduate students for the past 18 years. The purpose of the program is to give highly qualified students, who are interested in pursuing careers in the biomedical sciences (Ph.D., M.D. or M.D.-Ph.D.), the opportunity to conduct research, while exposed to the excitement of an academic medical environment at a major research center. Students may work with faculty in the disciplines of biochemistry, bio-informatics, biomedical imaging, cellular and molecular biology, clinical investigation, computational biology, developmental genetics, forensic pathology, immunology, microbiology, molecular oncology, neuroscience and physiology, parasitology, pharmacology, structural biology and virology. For more information, visit their website.
Rice University (Houston, Texas)
Rice University’s Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB) 2008 Summer Undergraduate Internship Programs focus on cellular engineering and bionanotechnology. For more information, visit their website.
Rockefeller University (New York, New York)
The Rockefeller University, one of the nation's premier centers for scientific research, invites college sophomores and juniors to apply for a unique summer research opportunity. The 10 week Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program allows students to engage in intensive laboratory research, working one-on-one with faculty, postdocs and graduate fellows to experience life as a graduate student in the biological sciences. For additional information, visit their website.
Stanford University (Stanford, California)
The Stanford Summer Research Program (SSRP) is a fully funded, 8-week residential research program open to current undergraduate students. The SSRP provides an opportunity for advanced research for undergraduates who want to prepare for and enter PhD, MD/PhD, or MD programs. Each student is matched with a Stanford faculty member and lab mentor and works on a research project that is challenging, involves a broad range of research techniques, and is feasible within the 8-week period. For more information, visit their website.
University of California Berkeley Amgen Scholars Summer Research (Berkeley, California). UC Berkeley is pleased to announce the Amgen Scholars Summer Research Program in Science and Biotechnology. This national program provides participants with the opportunity to conduct research with a faculty member, obtain college research units, and receive a stipend, housing, meal plan, and transportation to and from the UC Berkeley campus. Program dates are (generally) from late May to early August, and the application deadline is at the end of January. Berkeley welcomes applications from Georgetown students. For more information about the program, please visit the UC Berkeley Amgen Scholars Program Website.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) and Rutgers University are pleased to invite applications for the summer research program focused on Neuroscience. Outstanding applicants will be selected to join a research laboratory on the UMDNJ or Rutgers campus for a 10 week program over the summer where they will engage in hands-on experimentation. For more information, visit their website.
University of California San Diego (San Diego, California)
UCSD Summer Training Academy for Research in the Sciences offers research opportunities for undergraduate students, recent graduates and masters students in engineering, mathematics, and the physical, biomedical, life, marine and ocean sciences. During the summer program, students are matched with a faculty mentor for an eight week research experience. Each student is assigned a graduate student advocate to ensure they get the most out of their experience. The program includes GRE preparation course, workshops to assist with preparation for graduate school and the challenges of doctoral programs. The goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented students in science disciplines. Our Graduate Admissions Committees have identified the significance of applicants with proven research experience, credible letters of reference from known faculty mentors and a demonstrated commitment to pursuing a doctoral degree. For more information, visit their website.
University of Massachusetts Medical School (Worcester, Massachusetts)
The University of Massachusetts Medical School NIH Summer Research Fellowship Program is a non-credit, ten-week, structured research experience. The program consists of "hands-on" laboratory research experience with an investigator serving as a mentor, role model and advisor. The program is designed to provide participants in-depth exposure to the actual practice of scientific research in the hopes that the excitement, challenge and creativity of the enterprise will convince them to consider basic research in the sciences as a viable career choice. For more information, visit their website.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas, Texas)
The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program at UT Southwestern is an intensive, 10 week summer research training experience designed for college students who are preparing for careers in biological research. Fellows gain experience in modern research techniques, and have a chance to plan and execute an experimental strategy to answer a scientific question. The program introduces students to the sorts of projects encountered during postgraduate research training and leads to an understanding of the planning, discipline, and teamwork involved in the pursuit of basic answers to current questions in the biological sciences. Over two hundred and fifty participating faculty offer training in genomics, cancer biology, computational biology, developmental biology, molecular genetics, structural biology, cell biology, chemistry, systems biology, pharmacology, microbiology and infectious diseases, neurosciences, immunology, and mechanisms of disease. For more information, visit their website.
Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri)
The BioMedical Research Apprenticeship Program (BioMed RAP) at Washington University in St. Louis is a 10-week summer research program for exceptional students interested in pursuing biomedical research careers. The program is designed to provide a rigorous, in-depth research experience to prepare participants for top-quality Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. programs in the biomedical sciences. Additionally, social and career building activities are an integral part of the program. For additional information, visit their website.
Yale University School of Medicine (New Haven, Connecticut)
Each participant of the Biomedical Science Training and Enrichment Program (BioSTEP) works for 10 weeks in the research laboratory of a Yale faculty member who serves as the participant’s mentor. The research experience also includes weekly seminars and workshops on topics such as “Applying to Graduate and Medical Schools” and “Writing for the Sciences”, as well as social and cultural events. For more information, visit their website.
Our six-week pre-medical student summer program is the Yale Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP). Sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SMDEP offers intensive science enrichment for freshmen and sophomores interested in pursuing a career in medicine. Students attend weekly seminars and workshops as well as social and cultural events. For more information, visit their website.
HHMI Janelia Farm (Ashburn, Virginia)
HHMI is initiating its own summer research program at Janelia Farm, our new facility in Virginia. The program supports undergraduates to spend ten weeks during the summer living and working as an intern on the research campus. Research areas include neurobiology, physics, computer science, math, and engineering. Since the research groups are small and highly interactive, this program should provide a very personal experience, providing direct and frequent contact with lab leaders. For more information, visit their website.